In order to track a serial number, you need access to tracking software that can search manufacturers’ databases. Many manufacturers’ websites offer you the option to search by serial numbers. Other software allows shippers to record serial numbers in distribution databases and for business and personal inventories.
Tracking a serial number is usually no more difficult than going to a manufacturer’s website and plugging the number into the customer support portal. This convenience is possible because manufacturers assign serial numbers as parts, and finished goods are made using tracking software such as FishBowl and Acctivate that track serial numbers through their databases to help reconcile inventory as lots are sold and moved into distribution.
Tracking a serial number through the shipping process to delivery may not be as convenient unless you also have a specific shipping number, such as those generated by UPS and FedEx, because tracking is often specific to manufacturer as well as distributor. The information is still available, however, because shippers and receivers can track large shipments product by serial numbers in their own huge databases that document how and by what methods products move from manufacturers into retail outlets. Also, because store owners track serial numbers to reconcile their inventories with sales, you can ask for information about serial number tracking at the point of sale.